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December 19, 2010

Going Solo

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Cover Illustration

Going Solo


Author: Roald Dahl


Page Length: 210


Reading Level: 6


Genre: Autobiography

PLOT SUMMARY: It’s the late 1930s and Roald is a young man out on his first great adventure. A job for Shell Oil has sent him from his home in England to Africa. Roald relates tales of his adventures learning a new language and battling the fierce green mamba. As war approaches, Roald decides to become a pilot. The reader learns of the character’s piloting trials as well as his close encounters and harrowing escapes from Nazi warplanes. 

REVIEW: This book is a light (but with great depth), slightly humorous, and interesting read. Readers interested in World War II will find Roald’s descriptions of conditions, training, and battle enthralling. The book progresses nicely with many emotional ups and downs. There are tales of bravery and tales of sadness and loss. Chapters of this book could also be used on their own as interesting stories and scenes for discussion. Prior to reading, students would benefit from having a frame of reference about World War II and an understanding of the presence of wealthy big oil companies in third world countries.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: sequence of events, cause and effect, character traits, making predictions, analogies, historical context, context clues

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: “men jumping into a burning sea to be roasted and boiled alive” p.165, general topic / depictions of death during war

RELATED BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR: Boy, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Collected Short Stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

WAR RELATED BOOKS: Stepping on the Cracks, After the War, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Four Perfect Pebbles, Postcards from No Man’s Land

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: Diary of Anne Frank (1959)


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor



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